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MEGHALAYA GUIDE

 
Meghalaya, one of the smallest states in India, occupies the plateau and rolling hills between Assam and Bangladesh. Meghalaya "land of the rain -clouds" is covered with lush forests, rich in orchids. Meghalaya is one of the most beautiful states in India. Nature has blessed her with abundant rainfall, sun-shine, virgin forests, high plateaus, tumbling waterfalls, crystal clear rivers, meandering streamlets and above all with sturdy, intelligent and hospitable people.


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  MEGHALAYA INFORMATION

 
Meghalaya was inaugurated as an autonomous state on April 2,1970. It was declared as a state of the Indian Union on January 21, 1972. Meghalaya is situated in the north-eastern region of India, between the Brahmaputra valley in the north and the Bangladesh in the south.The state of Meghalaya (the abode of clouds) is geographically known as the "Meghalaya Plateau" or the "Shillong Plateau". The area is made of the oldest rock-formations. Meghalaya consists of the Garo, Khasi and Jaintia hills along with their outliers formed by the Assam ranges. It is the detached north-eastern extension of the Peninsular India. Part of it lies buried under the alluvium deposited by the Ganga-Brahmaputra system of rivers. This gap is known as Malda gap (between Raj Mahal hills/Chhota Nagpur and the Shillong Plateau.
 
   

  MEGHALAYA FACTS AND FIGURES

 

Meghalaya at a Glance ...

   

  Area:    

   22,429 sq km

  Capital:

   Shillong

  Languages: 

   Khasi, Hindi, English
   Per Capita Income:    6,260
   Religion:    Hindu
   Main Income:    Tourism, Agriculture, Industry
   Literacy:    48.26%
   Districts:     7  
   Best Time to visit:    All year through
 
   

  MEGHALAYA HISTORY

 
Meghalaya is the home of the Tribals especially the Khasis, Jaintias, Mikirs and Cacharis, who are said to have inhabited this region before the start of the Christian era. These tribes evolved out of the migration into north east by the migrants who belonged to the Indo-Chinese linguistic family, the Mon-Khmer and Tibeto-Burman. The Khasis came from the Khasis and Jaintias. The Tibeto-Burman sub-family were the Naga, Kukichin and Bodo. The Bodos were later divided into small linguistic groups such as Garo, Kachari, Mechs, Dimasa, Tippea, Lalung, Rabha, Chutiyas. The British occupied the Garo Hills in 1872. The tribal district council was established. The tradition among the tribals was kingship. The earliest Jaintia Raja is said to have ruled from 1500AD. They were influenced by the Hindu culture. The British influence in Meghalaya extended to the improvement of the landscape, development of roads. The works for progress and development of this region is still continuing after independence and formation of Meghalaya into a state.
 
   

  MEGHALAYA TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

 
Grotto (Shilloang) » Gleneagles (Shillong) » Word's Lake (Shillong) » Nartiang (Cherrapunjee) » Thadlaskein (Cherrapunjee) » Jakrem (Cherrapunjee) » Dawki (Cherrapunjee) » Ranikar (Cherrapunjee)
 
   

  MEGHALAYA FAIRS AND FESTIVALS

 
The people of Meghalaya observe some important festivals throughout the year. These celebrations usually take the form of dances, when people can forget the drudgery of life. Many of these festivals have religious associations but a few of the celebrations are plainly secular. A very important festival among the Garos is the Wangala- a harvest festival held in honour of Saljong, the Sun-god of fertility. This marks the end of a period of toil, which brings good yield of the fields. It is the time to relax and for days the hills and valleys resound with the distinctive beat of drums. The dance itself has certain subtle variations, the main motif being a queue of two parallel lines- one of men and other of women clad in their festive regalia. Young and and old join the festivities with equal gaiety. While the men beat drums, the line moves forward in rhythmic unison. The 'orchestra' of men consists of drums, gong and flutes punctuated by the sonorous music of an indigenous flute made of buffalo horn. There is a noticeable sense of rhythm in the participants, young and old, and the vigorous dance leaves a lasting impression upon the beholder.
 
   

  HOW TO REACH

 
By Air : Guwahati (100 km from Shillong) is the nearest airport connecting Meghalaya to the outer world. From Shillong there are state transport buses from the Police Bazaar stand every half hour to Guwahati and Silchar. Private coaches are also available. Hiring a taxi is the best option to get around the state.

By Rail : The nearest railway station is Guwahati, which is well connected to the rest of the country.

By Road : The state is well connected by good network of roads. By road Shillong to Calcutta-1184 kms, Darjeeling-690 kms, Gangtok-692 km, Guwahati-103 km, Kaziranga-294 km, Aizwal-430 km, Siliguri-578 kms, Manas-273 kms, Agartala-499 kms, Kohima-469 kms, Itanagar-481 kms etc.
 
   

  MEGHALAYA MAJOR CITIES

 
Shillong » Cherrapunjee
 
   

  MEGHALAYA WILDLIFE AND BIRDS

 
Balakram National Park :This park has been established in the west Garo Hill district in an area of 220sq km. The nearest town is William Nagar about15km. The railhead Guwahati is about160km from the park. The nearest airport is Guwahati which is 170km from the park.The vegetation consist of tropical moist deciduous type. The predominant species is moist hill sal.Mammals found in the park are binturong, clouded leopard, leopard cat, wolf, sloth bear, elephant, loris, serow, Reptile found is python. The birds are hornbill, hoolock etc.October to May are the best months for visiting the park.
 
   

  MEGHALAYA ARTS AND CRAFTS

 
The Shad Sukmynsiem (Dance of the Blissful Heart) is popularly known as Shad Weiking. It is so called after the name of the ground where the dance used to be held every year. A thanksgiving festival , Shad Suk Mynesiem is a symbolic offering of salutations to God, homage to their ancestors and proclamation of unity of the Khasi people. There is no fixed date for this dance. It used to be held during the month of April of each year. This is the most popular dance among the Khasis. It is organised by the Seng Khasi (Khasi Religion). The dances last for three days. Only unmarried men and women are allowed to take part in the dance. Youngsters and damsels from different part of Khasi hills participate in the dance. The Shad Sukmynsiem welcomes the whole of the Khasi community to take part in the dance. There was no bar for any one to take part in the dance since it is the traditional dance of the Khasis. Christians or Hindus as long as they belong to Khasi community could take part in this dance. Young lads brilliantly clad in colourful silk dhotis, coat and a plumed turban and adorning glittering ornaments look like Rajput Princes. They dance around with a sword or spear in one hand and a plume in the other. Pretty maidens in magnificent many-splendoured silk-robes and elaborately decked in priceless intricately designed ornaments of gold and silver and wearing a silver crown emerge before use as apsaras from the world beyond. These 'angels' move in an inner circle in two's and three's in tiny steps while the lads form a protective ring around them and flashing their weapons.
   

  MEGHALAYA ECONOMY

 
Of the total area 10% is used for cultivation. The important crops of the state are potato, rice, maize, pineapple, banana etc.Rice is the main crop . Other crops include jute, ginger, mustard, sugarcane, chilli etc. These crops are produced in substantial quantities and are being marketed in adjoining states. Meghalaya is important for fruit cultivation. Fruits include pineapples, oranges, bananas etc.The irrigation potential is much larger than the achievement. Only about 18% of the ultimate capacity for providing water to the land is being used.